Sunday, October 28, 2007

How To Be Good

After attending a reading by Nick Hornby from his new young adult novel SLAM, I realized many more reasons to admire this incredible writer.
To name a few:

1. Hornby has his own blog on Amazon, it's really interesting and! he appears to update it regularly
2. Am I the only person who didn’t know he wrote Fever Pitch? That Colin Firth movie-turned into-that dreadful Drew Barrymore film?
3. Hornby writes for Believer, and has released two collections of his essays for the pub
4. Two books of his that I'd never heard of before but can't wait to read; Songbird, and Speaking with the Angel, a collection of short stories he and some of his literary friends put together. The proceeds were donated to Autism charities

But most of all, he seems to be warm and kind. A man got up in the Q&A portion of the event. He was socially awkward and seemed to have forgotten the question bit of the exercise. He began telling his life story, about how after his father passed, he just wanted to be alone, and he withdrew from people. But after reading Hornby’s book, About a Boy, he found a reason to connect with the outside world and have friends again. The crowd gawked laughed at the strange man. Hornby gave a heartfelt thank you to his admirer. I thought that was nice.

4-3 Decision



"It looks like we may be near the end for Genarlow, but let me emphasize there are a thousand —- ten thousand —- Genarlows."

—- State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta)
from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Friday, October 26, 2007

Youtubing: Pinball Countdown

My old roommate reminded me of this trippy video from Sesame Street. All she had to do was sing "12345!" and it brought me back. Apparently a Pointer Sister or two sang on this track.



They don't make children's educational programming like they used to. But if they did, don't you think the Go! Team would make an excellent choice to score some of these videos?

Go! Team - The Wrath of Mikey

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Song For Allison


Allison was a “weird and maladjusted” girl who sat in the corner, convinced that she was invisible. "Singing All the Time" sees the strange girl’s eccentricities as quirky charms. I think it would have made her day.

Plastic Operator – Singing All The Time

I've been listening to Plastic Operator’s new CD, Different Places, all week. It's a treat.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dreams

Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton - Doctor Blind

Kyle was telling another joke. He had everyone in stitches. "Well fellas," Kyle said in his easy-going way, "I'm getting tired, I'll see you guys tomorrow."

"See ya later Ky," "Peace out man," the lingering diners shouted. Kyle's parents wheeled him out of the cafeteria and into his room. They spent every Sunday with him while the nurse took a day off.

"You take it easy Ky. Call us if you need anything," His father said, patting his son's head. He was still getting used to the idea of Kyle living on his own.

Kyle's father left the room before the mother-son ritual that had become routine began. She washed and changed Kyle, and inspected his legs for any bed sores to report to the nurse. Kyle looked away while his mother performed tasks that were second to breathing just a few short months ago.

She tucked Kyle into bed and took her darling boy's face into her hands. She kissed his forehead gently. "Goodnight my love." She looked back at him one more time before turning off the light and leaving the room.

A deep breath, Kyle begged for the sleep to take him in.

In his dreams, life carried on as it was. His mother used to always kid and say he was born in the ocean, and that's where found himself night after night. He looked out in front of him and the blue water stretched as far as the eye could see. The sun began to slowly break through the clouds.

It was time.

Kyle took to the water, slowly making his way to his destination. He waded a bit, licking the bitter saltwater that fell on his lips. And then he caught it. The perfect wave. He rode until the water lapped and carried him to the shore.
The same pretty girl wrapped a towel around him, a composite sketch of ex-girlfriends. He followed her lead and took her into his arms, kissing her hair.

The dream usually ended there anyway, when the sun came and took it all away. Pretty soon he'd be taken out of bed by his nurse.

Days became a way of passing the time. The dreams kept him alive.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Oxford American 2007 Music Issue

I picked up this year's Oxford American Music Issue yesterday. OA's ninth edition of music essays and accompanying CD gathers some of the South's best music, old and new, including offerings from a forgotten 60s pre-punk band called the Zachary Thaks, early doo-woopers The Clovers, and even dirrrty south rapper David Banner.


A fantastic essay on the recent Betty Davis reissues blew me away, as did this track


Amy LaVere - Killing Him

This belle of the ball doesn't sound like the others. LaVere plays an upright bass, and her aching lyrics ride a groove that has me hooked. Not quite convinced? Another song of hers goes like this

Sitting in the kitchen at night
She'd listen to the washing machine
Wishing she could leave
But there were so many loads to clean


LaVere's song is one of the many great finds in the 2007 issue, available in select bookstores and online now.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Colin Close

I recieved an EP from a band called Colin Close this morning. Guitarist Rob Hamer and singer Jan Staunton recorded and mixed the ambitious short set in Jan's bedroom.

Colin Close - Enough

Perhaps that is part of its intimate aesthetic, it leaves nothing to disguise the bare bones of Staunton's moral dilemma at hand. "Enough" plays out like his own inner dialogue of self-doubt, as if trying to convince himself that he can follow through, and that yes, he does in fact have a backbone. The unfinished guitar phrase at the end leaves it up in the air. Did he convince himself that he can finish what he's started? Either way, it's lovely to listen to.

You can buy the EP on their site.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Three Rules

It's always nice meeting older alumni from my school.They love giving advice, especially when you're young, and they're very friendly. They also generally seem to live full lives. It's a comfort to me, I guess it's something to look forward to.

I met a particularly colorful fellow last night. He switched careers to find the perfect fit later in life, and he's lived everywhere, including Brazil -- which made me think of a dear friend back in New York. He was really funny and his laughter was infectious. Before leaving the restaurant, he gave all of us younger grads a few pearls of wisdom. They are as follows:

1. Never heckle the dude on stage with the microphone
2. Never piss in the wind
3. Have fun, but never come home in a cop car

The dude abides.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A For Effort


I recommend listening to Earlimart's latest album, Mentor Tormentor, in its entirety rather than in parts. Well, maybe that's because I was formally introduced to the band in concert last night, where they mostly played Mentor tracks. There's a shared character between all of the songs, a minimalism that is perhaps close in likeness to the sleepy California town after which the band was named. But first impressions mask deeper contemplation; lead singer Aaron Espinoza, and singer/bassist Arianna Murray performed with three other band members on stage during the show, and the five alternated between piano, horn, guitar, drum track machine to create a thick and expansive soundscape.

Earlimart – Answers & Questions

Earlimart's multi-instrumentalism and astute attention to detail reminds me of another incredibly talented mellow west-coaster, especially on this track.

Last night at the Earlimart show (Office was also on the bill, and they were loads of fun,) I gained a greater appreciation for what it is that live musicians do. Concert attendance left much to be desired, and yet each group gave it their best, and seemed to have a blast in the process. I guess that's what happens when you do what you truly love. I think I've forgotten how that feels.

The Houston Chronicle interviewed Espinoza just the other day, and here's a recent in-studio session that Earlimart did with Morning Becomes Eclectic.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mad Props


John Legend is set to perform at a benefit concert in Ghana later this month to aid flood victims. Over 1.5 million people have been affected by devastating heavy raining seasons in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Legend says he fell in love with Ghana on a trip there last spring, and has since started a charity organization.

I think this is really cool. I'm pleasantly surprised, as I am with this subtle number from John's most recent CD, Once Again. John does a bit of soul-searching on this one, and I think it's better for it.

John Legend - Show Me


Stereogum discusses one of John's influences, made apparent in this song.

That first bit of guitar play is lovely.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

City of Blinding Lights

Sat on the couch this afternoon and watched two very New York-centric movies.

It’s gotten me thinking of the city - the overblown, pretty, clean Hollywood version of course; where assistants can afford to live downtown in spacious apartments with doormen and even Times Square looks inviting and beautiful instead of nauseating in the right light.

U2 - City of Blinding Lights

Friday, October 12, 2007

LUCKY


I just read some delightful news on BV about an upcoming album by one of my favorite bands, Nada Surf. I really got into these guys after I reviewed their exceptional record Let Go in college. They've crafted some incredible rock songs over the years, made even more splendid by lead singer Matthew Caws' accessible lyrics.

There's even a new song to listen to while we wait for the album, entitled LUCKY, to drop early next year.

Nada Surf - See These Bones

Here's an entertaining interview I found a couple of years ago with drummer Ira Elliot. Show some drummer love.

You Used To Be Alright

What happened?

Radiohead - 15 Step

Times' columnist David Brooks calls this stage of my life the 'Odyssey Years.' Sounds exciting and liberating on paper, not so much in practice. This time waiting for grad school decisions (and freelancing on the side) has left me at a bit of a loss.


This is by far my favorite song from In Rainbows. Have you downloaded your copy yet?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Two Things: Rainbows and Rick James

I made sure to download my copy of Radiohead's latest CD today. You know, the 'kind of a big deal' CD that could possibly change the face of the music industry and all. I've been listening to it since.

So far so good. Really good.

Gothamist interviewed Jonny Greenwood this morning. Interesting fellow.

and

found out about last night's really cool Justice performance on GvB.



The Rick James impersonator is spot-on. Wouldn't it have been cool if all these dudes were homies in the 80's, and threw down some serious jam sessions back in the day? One can dream.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Just

Since moving back to Houston, I've been following this interesting news story about a man named Ronald Gene Taylor who was wrongly convicted in a rape case. It's horrifying to believe, but evidence that could have cleared his name simply wasn't tested. After spending 14 years in prison, he was released today. He left the courthouse this afternoon as a free man with his mother and other family members, but not before leaving a few choice words for Houston's City Council.

"I was blessed enough to receive help, but there's a lot of people that can't get help. They don't have finances, they don't have anybody to help them."

"They [the HPD crime lab] have just got to do a better job. They've got to look deeper. Because I'm not mistaken, the same guy that they now say committed the crime, was the same guy that they found from the beginning. They found him from the very beginning. They just didn't go pick him up. They didn't look for him. Nothing."


A wonderful organization called the Innocence Project worked on Taylor's case since 1998. I wish Mr. Taylor the best of luck, but I also wish our justice system was more just.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Sweater Song

Ingrid Michaelson - The Way I Am

She could hear him making breakfast in the next room. She thought about when she'd ever been happier, and she couldn't come up with another instance. Was this, then, her happiest?

Did people know they were living their happiest moment while they were living it? Of course not, she snickered, that's why we keep living, not knowing that we've already reached our euphoric high. Well, she decided, I'm happiest right now.

She wondered if she needed to do something to commemorate this wonderful time she'd remember forever as her happiest. She looked around the room, searching for a removable momento she could keep. Something she could look upon every now and again in her later years, something that would bring a smile to her face at the touch.

She spotted yesterday evening's movie ticket stubs on the night stand. She took them into her hands, and held them closely to her chest. She thought about how she'd remember it.

The morning after they dined at Madeline's and attended a late night screening of Psychokillers 3 at Hillside Plaza Theatre, was the happiest morning of her life.


Ingrid Michaelson's new album, Girls and Boys, is very excellent, you can purchase on iTunes or CDBaby. She's also currently on tour.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

"Buzzworthy"


I'm not sure if this is a new thing that MTV is trying, but they've recently crowned Chromeo their "Band of the Week." It's kind of cool, they've been airing mini-videos of Dave 1 and P Thugg sandwiched between their regular drone programming since Monday. But I can't help agreeing with this dude's sentiments taken from MTV's website:

Gale says:
3:19 on 10/03
MTV, you guys are bogus...Please DON'T play Chromeo...They're DOPE and you guys are so not...Do yourselves a favor and stay LAME...


Hey now, maybe MTV is on to something. Give the kids something they can step to.

like
Chromeo - Fancy Footwork

And that awesome video for "Needy Girl"


Vocoder Power!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Strange Days Indeed

Tell me about it. I just got a car. Me.
This will take some getting used to.

Anyways.


On the plane ride back to Texas, I watched The U.S. vs. John Lennon.

It's a finely made documentary, not only because Lennon was a figure who practically lived on-camera and there's great footage of him because of it, but also because of the level of access to key figures of the period. Top senior Nixon administration officials, Noam Chomsky, Bobby Seale, Gore Vidal, hell, they even got Geraldo Rivera out for this one (not sure why, but it works alright.) They all give their two cents on a political situation that was anything but under control.

It's hard to conceive that someone who orchestrated "bed-ins" and wrote the song "Give Peace A Chance" would be perceived as a national threat, and yet there was wiretapping and the memo written by Strom Thurmond ordering that Lennon conveniently be deported right before he, Yoko, and a group of activists were to embark on a tour advocating peace.

John Lennon - Nobody Told Me


Apart from the espionage and the great interviews and Geraldoooo I liked the moments on screen between John and Yoko the most. Theirs was a love you could feel.

"Well, I suppose they tried to kill John, but they couldn't because his message is still alive."
-Yoko Ono